Lincoln Prevention Coalition urges R.I. parents to join Safe House initiative

Lincoln Prevention Coalition urges R.I. parents to join Safe House initiative

LINCOLN – More young people home for longer periods of unsupervised time during the pandemic is leading to a rise in use of alcohol and other substances, say leaders of the Lincoln Prevention Coalition.

Pam Shayer, pictured, said the group, using a Drug Free Communities grant, has launched what advocates hope will be the national Safe House campaign (www.safehouselpc.com), and is pushing for a larger statewide effort as part of that to get parents to sign up to pledge that their homes will be safe spaces where they will not provide alcohol to minors or allow drinking.

“We want it to be statewide,” she said.

Whether it’s prom or parties, alcohol is often in the mix, and parents might not know what they can expect when sending their children somewhere, said Shayer. When someone signs up as a Safe House, they’re listed as taking the pledge and other parents and their children can be more at ease.

Shayer and Terri-Lynn Longpre went to a training two years ago in Florida, where the initiative has really taken off and has done well, and they wanted to bring it back to Rhode Island. Since young people don’t just socialize with those in their own town, said Longpre and Shayer, a database of parents from other towns helps when families are trying to protect their children.

The website this week was showing seven Lincoln families have signed up to be a Safe House after the recent launch of the program locally, and about 46 have signed up in total.

Also on the website, said Longpre, families can find other resources, including how to have better communication, how to keep alcohol off the guest list, and tips for teens on how to say no or get out of a sticky situation.